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Electric shock leaves worker with 62% burns

Bradley Marsh, 28, was working for Dwyer Engineering Services Ltd when he inadvertently struck an 11,000 volt unexposed underground electricity cable with his jack hammer which left him with 62% burns to his upper body, face, neck and arms.

He was hospitalised for six weeks after the incident, and as a result of his injuries cannot expose himself to direct sunlight, due to skin grafts. His house has been adapted so he can sleep downstairs and he is unlikely to work again.

An investigation by the health and safety executive (HSE) found that Mr. Marsh was not trained to dig within 500mm of live cables. Additionally, the company did not have a cable supervisor on site and there were no systems in place to identify underground cables.

At Maidstone Magistrates Court pleaded guilty to breaching 25(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,532.

HSE Inspector, David Fussell, said:

“The fact that serious injury or death can result from contact with electricity, either via personnel, machinery or vehicles, makes it all the more essential for employers to have safe working procedures for any work involving electrical plant, cabling or equipment.”

“If Dwyer Engineering Services Ltd had been prepared to spend a little time locating underground services, using signs, maps, and locating devices, then this incident would have been avoided.”

HSE provides clear guidance on working safety on construction sites and avoiding danger from underground services in booklet HSG47. All construction companies and associated trades are encouraged to purchase employers liability insurance in the case of any inevitable incidents.

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